Saturday, January 26, 2013

Christ and Cathars - Kate Mosse Labyrinth

Carcassonne today
Image wikimedia
The events around Massacre of Cathars are brought vividly to our minds through the novel Labyrinth (2005) by Kate Mosse and the currently running TV mini-series based on it.

Inquisition was established in 1184 in Languedoc south of France to destroy heretic Cathars. The twenty years Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229) aimed to physically annihilate them. "The last known Cathar perfectus in the Languedoc, Guillaume Bélibaste, was executed in 1321."

We can feel some of the cold hatred and horror of those days in the words of advise by the Cistercian Abbot of Cîteaux Arnaud Amalric (died 1225). Caesar of Heisterbach wrote later that when asked how to distinguish between Catholics and Cathars during the attack on Béziers July 22, 1209 he said

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

"Kill them all. For God knows who are his."

This awful statement by a holy man of God is made even more chilly by the fact that it refers to the Bible giving the passage in the Second Letter to Timothy a tint of Satanic verse
Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.  Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”
2 Tim 2:17-19 NIV
These events undoubtedly belong to the darkest chapters in the history of Christian Church together with such things as the Fourth Crusade or the way Conquistadors treated Middle American natives and others like them.

The yellow Cathar cross
sympathizers were forced to use it on their clothes  

Responsibility of Christ of His own
So where was Rex Regum during these horrible things done in His holy name?

For it was nobody else than the illustrious Vicar Christ Pope Innocentius III (1160-1216) himself who was directly responsible for the events by initiating and encouraging the persecution and destruction of Cathars.
"These heretics are worse than the Saracens!" exclaimed Pope Innocent III, and on March 10, 1208, he proclaimed a crusade against a sect in southern France that became one of the bloodiest blots in European history.
Time Magazine 1961
Could not Jesus to whom has been given all authority in heaven and on earth have prevented that His own do such horrific things against those considered heretics?

Resurrected Jesus had conquered Europe and the kings rulers of Italy, England, France, Spain, Germany and other nations obeyed the powerful Bishop of Rome. His Kingdom had grown and flourished through centuries and the Church was at the height of its power.

Could Jesus not have in many different ways prevented the massacre of Cathars?

And yet it seems He did nothing of the sort but allowed even the disgusting institution of Inquisition misusing every concept of truth go ahead under the sign of the holy cross.

But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” John 11:37

Undoubtedly much of the antipathy modern French feel against the Church and the wish to be free of it as expressed in the French Revolution against the aristocratic Ancien Régime Ancien of kings, noblemen and prelates has deep roots in the Albigensian Crusade, the persecution of the Huguenots and other such things.

Current revival of the memories of the way Church treated Cathars is certainly giving strength to anti-Christian feelings not only in France but all over the world.

So where was Jesus?
Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."
John 18:36 NIV
Christian Church is not the same as the Kingdom of God.

My suggestion is that when facing the enormousness of the Universe we also consider issues that connect us to the facts of science and knowledge and have personal significance to us - for example, how we are made of star dust (Carl Sagan).

When facing the enormousness of the Dark Ages and the horrors of persecution of Cathars let us similarly consider issues that connect us to the facts of history and have personal significance to us.

Where is Jesus Christ in your own life?

Where was He when that tragic car accident happened taken with such cruelty away the beloved once?

Where was He when that illness changed your life forever and crushed your dreams?

Where was He when you were saved by the doctors and given a second try in this life?

Can you point out where Jesus is in your own life?

So how could you figure out using how Rex Regum rules His Kingdom?

'An enemy did this', he replied
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’

“‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

“‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Matthew 13:24-30 NIV

1 comment:

  1. you might be interested in the parallel story